Symposium: East-West Dialogue in Art History and Visual Culture

A 15th c. copy of the Dala’il al-Khayrat from the Chester Beatty Library’s collections. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.)

On November 13th, I had the pleasure of attending a symposium in Trinity’s Long Room Hub called “East-West Dialogue in Art History and Visual Culture,” hosted by the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies. The topic (cultural mixing between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East), is a pet interest of mine, planted as an adolescent in the post 9/11 world, watered by my French studies as an undergraduate [1], and (I’m out of metaphorical verbs here)’d by an independent study on francophone literature of the Maghreb during grad school. My scholarship quickly turned to more familiar waters (i.e. Western modernism), but my interest in post-colonial North Africa was rekindled by a trip to the Chester Beatty Library in March 2013. I saw amongst its collection of beautiful medieval manuscripts a very early sharing of iconographies which I hadn’t realized existed. Although I am by no means an expert on Arabic or visual cultures, I’ve chosen to preserve what I learned during Trinity’s symposium in this blog post. If any of the above ideas float your boat, read on. I’ll organize my thoughts by paper title/presenter.

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